Normally, I want to talk about films on Friday. This week, I am indirectly talking about films by discussing Ultra 4K blu-rays and how Sony may have told us the fate of the format.
On September 7, I watched the Playstation Meeting and like many others, I was underwhelmed.
Sure, the PS4 Slim had been leaked weeks earlier and during the Meeting, the reveal was given with pomp as it had never been seen. Sony should have just joked about it instead of not breaking from the teleprompter. Instead, it came out to a sizzle.
Next, they revealed the PS4 Pro, formerly PS4 Neo (a name I find to be better). When it came time to give the specs, the PS4 would do:
4k video streaming…Check
4K Blu-rays…Ch…wait, no check.
PS4 Pro, the last of the PS4 line for a “substantial period of time” would not support 4K blu-rays out the box. (Click here for the article from IGN.)
Now, the interwebz blew up. Microsoft start jabbing Sony like Rocky did to Apollo Creed. Gaming sites, bloggers, and vloggers are ranting. “What is Sony doing?”
I, however, won’t rant. Do I think it’s a smart move? I don’t know. What I do know is Sony has a track record of building up new media formats and not including 4K Blu-ray set up out the box is very telling.
Let’s examine all the Playstation systems to see what they offered.
The original Playstation, the great-grandaddy, launched in 1994 with the ability to play CDs. This was a cool feature as such CDs were no longer confined to portable CD players or stereo systems or very expensive computers, but TVs. I wouldn’t consider this a game changer, but it helped enough to distinguish it from everything else on the market.
The second generation. the granddaddy, Playstation 2 launched in 2000. Not only was this a game machine, but this was mine and many other’s very first DVD player. Sony changed the industry by not only giving Playstation 1 owners a new game machine but a DVD player. This pushed the new media format into many homes harder and faster and made DVD the de-facto medium for movies, killing off videos.
Playstation 3. The Daddy. Last Generation. It’s announcement was not met with fanfare. In 2006, during the midst of economic upheaval, it was revealed to launch at $599. It was being sold not only as a game system, but a blu-ray player. At the time, blu-ray unlike DVD, was so new and the tech was so unknown that most consumers could give a flying flip over it. Unlike, the leap from video to DVD which showed tremendous differences. However, I feel Sony’s announcement ended the format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Blu ray is now the primary physical format for media and gaming.
In 2013, the big kahuna, Playstation 4 launched. It came with in built-in blu-ray drive. At that point, no other formats were on the market. For almost 3 years. PS4 has dominated the market.
Now, we come to September 7, 2016. Sony announces the Slim (the new main model) and the PS4 Pro.
If you go to a Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, or Target, you will see blu-rays in a black case instead of the standard blue, with the words 4K ULTRA printed on the top. Those are blu-ray movies formatted to show in 4K resolution. This technology along with 4K TV is fairly new and not in the majority of homes.
Why would Sony not future-proof their new system?
I feel the answer lies in two points.
1.) The fact that Sony knows that 4K blu-rays is such a future tech that spending money in their PS4 would be a waste and it is able to keep it at the $399 price point.
2.) Sony knows this format will go the way of Betamax, Laserdisc, and HD-DVD. This is a consumer electronics company that has been successful for decades and knows what the electronics market will do and by not including the 4K bluray drive with it’s “last for a while” system shows where the tech is not going.
Will this situation start Microsoft’s rise of dominance this console season?
Did Sony make a stupid decision?
Leave your comments below.
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